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Supreme Court expands scope of burglary intent Supreme Court expands scope of burglary intent

Bronze medal Reporter Adv. John Posted 11 Jun 2019
Supreme Court expands scope of burglary intent

In an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh, the US Supreme Court affirmed the ruling below in Quarles v. United States that intent formed at any time during a burglary is sufficient.

Defendant Jamar Quarles was charged with a violation of the Armed Career Criminal Act for committing a felony with a weapon after three prior felony convictions. Quarles argued that under his first conviction he did not intend to commit a felony until some time after his unlawful entry into a building pursuing his ex-girlfriend. He argued that to constitute burglary, he would have needed to form the intent to commit the crime prior to entering the building.

The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court was that intent may be formed at any time while the defendant is unlawfully remaining in a building. They specifically stated that intent does not have to be formed prior to entry. Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the decision based on current precedent but wrote a separate concurrence to question any categorical approach to enumerated felonies.

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